August 5, 2014
Work being done at the Fontaine Research Park in Charlottesville could change the way scientists deal with the Ebola virus.
“With this particular mechanism we don't have a cure yet, but that's often how the search for a cure begins,” says Dr. Lukas Tamm, professor at the UVa School of Medicine.
Tamm is spear-heading research that takes a deeper look into how Ebola fuses with cells in the body and by learning it's movements they could come up with drugs that could have save people who come in contact with the disease.
“It looks a little bit like an extended hand or a long loop and then we found in our lab that this hand makes a fist,” says Tamm. “Once it makes that fist it can punch its way into the cell.”
He says that the disease has been around since 1976, and there have been several outbreaks since then. Each time, those outbreaks were contained.
“It surfaced first also in Africa, but each time each of those outbreaks was contained again,” says Tamm. “Maybe this is the largest one of those since 1976, but they eventually subsided again.”
He says there is nothing to worry about as long as the virus is contained. He hopes that with the research being done at UVa, they will be able to find a cure or a way to treat the disease.
“If we don't have a treatment for it and if it got out of hand then it would be scary indeed.”
Until then they will continue working in the lab to learn more about this deadly virus.
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